Modelling > Scenarios

No Communist China

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A new scenario:  what if somehow the Chinese Communists don't take control of mainland China in 1949.  I am not sure of the triggers for this to occur (maybe something happens to either/both Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong?  Maybe the US bolsters the Nationalists even more?).  Either way, we end up with Mainland China being a non-communist nation and probably a frontline state against the USSR throughout the cold war.  This could see US/Canadian etc forces stationed there plus much more in the way of western equipment wearing Nationalist markings.  Possibly the Vietnamese War takes a different turn too or maybe doesn't even happen.

Whilst much equipment might parallel what Taiwan had, I can think of a few new additions:

Chinese Nationalist F-4 Phantoms
Chinese Nationalist A-4 Skyhawks
Chinese Nationalist EE Lightnings
Chinese Nationalist F-106s
Chinese Nationalist Mirage IIIs
Chinese Nationalist F-15s
Chinese Nationalist A-10s

I like it! The simplest scenario would be that the Civil War never occurred. How 'bout this ...

On 27 August 1945, Mao Tse-tung (accompanied by the US Ambassador, Patrick J. Hurley) flew from the Communist redoubt in Yanan in Shensi to Chungking. [1] Meetings with Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang officials lasted until 10 October 1945. The negotiations resulted in the signing of the 'Double Tenth Agreement' which, in turn, issued in the Third United Front. The Chinese Communist Party was now fully recognized as a ligitimate political party. The stated common goals were economic reconstruction of the war-ravaged country and the establishment of a democratic China. [2]

As part of the agreement, all Chinese armed forces were to be placed under the command of Chiang. Since the National Revolutionary Army was viewed as having allegiance to the KMT, the new combined force was rebranded as the Unified National Army (Tung-yi Kuomin Chun or TKC). Former NRA and Red Army units remained intact up to the Company (Kung-ssu) level but were integrated into new formations at Battalion (Yin) level. Chiang would be the titular Commander-in-Chief but the TKC would fall under the control of a new Ministry of Defence (Kuofang Pu).

In the meantime, a Constituent National Assembly session was called for November 1945. Lead CCP representatives would be Chou En-lai and Teng Hsiao-ping. The result was a new Constitution of the Republic of China. The biggest change was the replacement of one-party rule (by the KMT National Congress) with a new All-China Congress composed of Kuomintang and CCP appointees. This was a 'Temporary Provision' - an interim form pending democratic elections.

To Chiang's surprise, Mao did not put himself forward for high office - Chou En-lai would fill the political role of top CCP official in the All-China Congress. Instead, Mao accepted responsible for developing and implementing Land Reform policies. The outcome was a large-scale transfer of land-ownership to poor farmers with fairly reasonable compensation for landlords paid out by Chungking. As Mao had said: "The battle for China is a battle for the hearts and minds of the peasants."

Economic reconstruction faced the challenges of recovery from over a decade of total warfare. At the end of WW2, there were about 1.2 million Japanese troops in China along with around half a million civilians. Chiang was empowered to take their surrender (as well as those in Taiwan and Indochina north of the 16th parallel). By December 1945, a million Japanese soldiers had been disarmed in China. In the north, US Marines landed to disarm and begin repatriating Japanese troops. In the south, the NRA (and later the TKC) did the same. But there was a difference. Chiang had ordered good treatment of Japanese internees. That bore fruit when skilled personnel - both Japanese civilians and ex-military - were offered temporary paid positions in reconstruction work.

The employment of unrepatriated Japanese technicians and workers was not exactly kept a secret from America but it was kept low-profile for a number of reasons. A simple reason was American disapproval just when aid and assistance in China was most needed. A further cause of friction with Washington was Chungking's insistence that the fact of Japanese surrender entitled China to take control of Taiwan (where the NRA take-over did not go over well locally but the US avoided interfering - at the time, the US had enough on its plate). Another of Chungking's moves succeeded in both surprising and wrong-footing Washington - the 'surrendering' of Manchuria.

In August 1945, the Soviets had conquered Manchukuo and occupied it with more than half a million Red Army troops. The US had no intention of trying to displace these Soviet troops and Chungking was in no position to force Moscow's hand in Manchuria. Instead, the All-China Congress exercised the only power it had and formally recognized the independence of the former Manchukuo state. For the moment, a ruined Man'chzhuriya - along with its Japanese internees - was the responsibility of the Soviet Union. A campaign to reintegrate Manchuria could wait until the rest of China had been rebuilt.

Meanwhile, the Republic of China remains stable ... so long as none of the leaders lose the plot  ???

[1] This diplomatic feat was one outcome of the 1944 'Dixie Mission' (or United States Army Observation Group) to Yanan.

[2] Chiang's wording of an 'eventual' democracy was a sticking point. Eventually, it was agreed to hold free elections no later than the end of August 1948.


This would tie in nicely with an alternate Vietnam. In OTL the Chinese took over Vietnam (down to the 16th parallel) in 1945 to disarm the surrendered Japanese, and Chiang actually supported the idea of an independent Vietnam (not willing to continue holding it at all) and went as far as to threaten the French with war unless they agreed to negotiate with Ho Chi Minh, and only let the French reoccupy the country in exchange for the French giving up their colonial holdings and priviledges in China. Obviously, with no civil war weakening China, their words will have much more weight and China does not need to give any concessions while still revoking any Unequal Treaties with France.

In OTL, the OSS had also made a report in 1945 that Vietminh was basically the only domestic party in Vietnam able to form a functioning government; however, in a tragic moment of irony, the report was never opened or read. Even if the butterflies don't bring attention to the sealed envelope in this TL, with the French in much weaker position than in OTL and China already showing an example of Communists being willing to cooperate in a democratic government (at least for the while), the Truman administration could well choose to support an independent Vietnam from the start (which had been Roosevelt's intent all along until his death). Democratic elections under neutral surveillance, clean sheet constitution, and a comprehensive land reform would be introduced, and in exchange for US economic and other support the Communists would in turn cease violence. The assumption is here that Ho would be willing to share power in exchange for the US support which he had sought in the first place, because that would make the now stronger Chinese leave and keep their influence to a minimum.


Of course, without a million Chinese volunteers turning the tide, the Korean War, if it ever starts, could end up badly for North Korea. There is of course the nominally independent Manchuria, but it does not have nearly as much manpower to spare. Stalin had already written of North Korea even in the OTL and was opposed to escalation, were it not for Mao deciding to intervene. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, therefore even the Chinese communists in this TL would not lift a finger to help a Soviet puppet state as long as the Manchurian question remained open. (The whole Manchurian affair would be Taiwan to the power of ten.)


Going forwards, if the Soviet Union hangs onto Manchuria, will there be similar borders clashes as the OTL fights on Ussuri River? These would be even more alarming than in OTL, because they would be between a West-aligned China and the Soviet Union.


Of course, if there's no Chinese Civil War to speak of, Vietnam is somewhat peacefully reformed, and North Korea loses, it would mean that there will be substantially smaller Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean communities in America, as there will be much less refugees.


No Vietnam war and a reduced Korean War (basically ending in late 1950) would definitely see a different 20th century.  One might see the US units stationed in Sth Korea in our timeline moved more to the China/USSR border.


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